After more than a year of limiting non-essential travel to citizens and residents of the zone, the Schengen area is finally opening up to non-European foreigners. While different Schengen countries continue to impose different travel restrictions and entry requirements on foreigners seeking to access the zone, as of June 18th 2021, restrictions on arrivals are generally being relaxed in order to accommodate the entry of greater numbers of global travelers. Some Schengen countries have expanded their respective “Green” and “Orange” country lists (i.e. “safe” and relatively safe countries) to include other third states (non-EU/non-Schengen), allowing millions of other foreigners the possibility of engaging in non-essential travel to the zone. At the same time, Schengen countries have begun rolling out mechanisms to allow for the entry of vaccinated foreigners traveling for non-essential reasons (provided they show proof of vaccination). The current travel rules governing France, Germany, Spain, and Italy are outlined below. For detailed, country-specific travel information for the rest of the Schengen area, contact us here.

[Published on 18 June 2021]

Disclaimer: The information presented in this news may vary from the date it was published and is subject to change.

France

Summary:

  • If you are arriving from one of the following countries, you are banned from non-essential travel to France—even if you have proof of vaccination: Afghanistan, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Uruguay.
  • If you are from a country not on the above Red List (i.e. from a state on the Green or Orange List) you can travel to France without an essential reason if you show proof of vaccination.
  • If you are traveling from an Orange List country, you must submit a negative COVID test in addition to a vaccination certificate in order to be allowed entry into France for non-essential reasons.

France has added the United States to its “Green List,” meaning that travelers arriving from America do not need to have an essential reason in order to enter the country. France’s Green List was previously limited to the EU and Schengen states, Canada, Lebanon, and most of the European Council’s list of “safe” countries, including Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea.

In addition to new additions to its country color lists, France is also providing a pathway for vaccinated travelers to enter the country without an essential reason, and with fewer health restrictions. As of June 18th, if you are arriving from any of Green List countries above and you are vaccinated, you can enter France without facing any restrictions. What this means is that if you are coming to France from a Green List country and you show proof of being vaccinated, you can enter France without revealing a negative COVID-19 test (which non-vaccinated passengers must provide in order to enter the country). Additionally, if you are traveling from an Orange List country and you have evidence of being vaccinated, you can enter France without an essential reason if you submit your proof of vaccination AND a negative COVID test. Travelers from Orange List countries who do not have proof of being vaccinated cannot enter the country without an essential reason—even if they are willing to present a negative COVID test prior to their arrival. Essentially, if you are from an Orange List country, you need to be vaccinated in order to travel to France without an urgent/essential reason.  Please note that Orange List countries include all countries not included on either the above Green List or the Red List. Red List countries include the following states: Afghanistan, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname and Uruguay. Please note that the pathway for non-essential travel to France via proof of vaccination is only available to those arriving from Green and Orange List countries. If you are arriving from a Red List country, you cannot enter France unless you have “pressing” grounds for travel—even if you have proof of vaccination.

Germany

Summary:

  • Germany continues to be essentially closed to tourists from countries outside the zone, and to all arrivals from non-Schengen/non-EU countries who are traveling without an essential reason (please note that tourism is not an essential reason).
  • Germany allows the entry of non-essential travelers from the following third states: Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand.
  • Non Schengen, non-EU, countries not on the above safe list are divided into three categories: risk areas, high incidence areas, and areas of variant concern. If you are arriving from one of these areas, you must have an essential reason for travel to enter Germany.

Germany’s equivalent to France’s Green List (i.e. the list of third countries whose nationals are allowed to travel to Germany without an urgent reason) continues to be limited to the European Council’s list of “safe” countries, including Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand)—at the moment, Germany has not expanded the list to include the United States. Theoretically, arrivals from these countries can enter Germany for the purpose of tourism or another unessential reason.

Unlike France, Germany only lets arrivals from non-EU/non-Schengen states into the country if they are traveling for a reason the state defines as “urgent”—even if they are vaccinated. Germany continues to ban all travel from its respective Red List (formally known as areas of variant of concern.” Countries included on what is effectively Germany’s travel ban list include the UK, India, Brazil, Uruguay, and Nepal, (as well as nine African countries)—for a full list of areas of variant concern, please contact us.

Like France, Germany is now accepting vaccination certificates in lieu of a negative COVID test (a negative test was previously required for entry). Germany, however, will only accept a vaccination certificate as a condition for entry from passengers who are arriving from risk areas and high incidence areas (who alternatively may gain entry through presenting either a negative COVID test or proof of having recovered from the disease). What this means is that, if you are arriving in Germany from an area of variant concern, you will need to present a negative COVID test (taken within 48 hours) in order to enter—a vaccination certificate won’t gain you entry.

In addition to pre-arrival restrictions affecting entry, Germany subjects arriving travelers from risk areas, high incidence areas, and areas of variant concern to mandatory self-isolation for 10 days (14 days if arriving from area of variant concern). In addition, travelers from these areas are required to register their entry online via an official website. If you have been vaccinated, you can submit proof of vaccination (or proof of previous infection) in order to exit quarantine—so long as you entered Germany from either a risk area or a high incidence area. If you are entering Germany via an area of variant concern, however, you must quarantine for a full 14 days even if you have a vaccination certificate.

Italy

Summary:

  • Israel and the UK are the only two non-Schengen, non-EU states are currently on Italy’s C-List (countries on this list are subjected to the least amount of travel/health restrictions). While those arriving from these states can enter Italy without an essential reason, significant barriers to non-essential travel to Italy continue to affect those arriving from other non-Schengen, non-EU states. These pre and post entry restriction—which include mandatory testing and self-isolation—are out outlined below.
  • Travelers who seek to enter Italy from countries outside of either the C List or D List can only do so for essential reasons, such as those related to health, jobs, and academics. Therefore, if you are not arriving from Israel, the UK, the EU, or the Schengen area, or from one of the D List countries (Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Canada and United States) you will not be able to travel to Italy for the purpose of tourism.
  • Italy continues to impose an entry ban on travelers from India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

Italy allows the entry of non-essential travelers from countries on the C List, which includes all the EU/Schengen states, as well as the UK and Israel. Those who enter from a C list country need present a negative COVID test and fill out the passenger locater form in order to enter. Travelers who do not fulfill these requirements must submit to a 10 day self-isolation, only to be ended by a negative COVID test.

Italy allows the entry of non-essential travelers from the following D List third countries: Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Canada and United States. However, travelers from any of the above countries are subject to a more intensive number of pre-arrival, post entry restrictions, which include:

  • Filling out the passenger locator form
  • Presenting a negative COVID test within 72 hours of their intended entry.
  • Self-isolating for 10 days after entering Italy
  • Travelling to self-isolation point in Italy via non-public means (i.e. through a rented car rather than a public bus).
  • COVID testing to end self-isolation

Spain

Summary:

  • At the moment, travel to Spain as a foreigner is fairly unrestricted; the country is not currently imposing any travel bans; as of June 18th, it allows the entry of non-essential travelers from all countries, provided they follow certain pre and post-entry restrictions.
  • At the moment, therefore, you can travel to Spain for the purpose of tourism without facing significant barriers.

Spain allows the entry of non-essential travelers from all countries—with some conditions—depending on where they are arriving from. Without exception, travelers who land in Spain must present a health control form and submit to temperature checks and other health measures. If you are traveling from a destination on the non-risk country list (Australia, China, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the UK) you can enter Spain without facing additional restrictions.

If you are coming from a state that is not on the “non-risk” country lists, you can enter Spain for any reason, provided you present either proof of vaccination, proof of having recovered from the disease, or a negative COVID test (received not more than 48 hours before entering). Unlike most European countries, which are essentially banning all-but essential entries from India, Spain is currently accepting the entry of those traveling for non-essential reasons from India— provided they self-isolate for a minimum of 10 days after arriving in Spain.


As you can see from the above, Spain has fewer entry restrictions relative to Italy, Germany, and France, making it one of the easier European countries to access right now.